Accessibility links

Film About Terrorist Victim Daniel Pearl Opens At Cannes Festival

A film about American journalist Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered by Islamic militants in Pakistan in 2002, has opened at the Cannes Film Festival. The film, A Mighty Heart, is based on a book written by his wife Mariane Pearl, and stars Angelina Jolie. For VOA, Anita Elash filed this report from Paris.

American journalist Daniel Pearl was researching a story in Pakistan about Richard Reid, the so-called "shoe bomber," when he was kidnapped in 2002. A group of Islamic militants claimed responsibility and said Pearl was an American spy. After he was killed, the group circulated a video on the Internet showing his execution.

The film, A Mighty Heart, is based on a book written by Pearl's wife, Mariane, who was five months pregnant when he was killed. It begins on her last day with her husband in Pakistan, where they were on assignment together, and depicts her efforts to find Daniel and to come to terms with his death.

Mariane Pearl is played by American actress Angelina Jolie. Pearl said she asked Jolie to play the part after she read an interview with her and thought they could be friends.

Jolie was about six-months pregnant as she prepared for the film. She told reporters in Cannes that that helped her understand what Mariane Pearl was going through.

"I remember being six-months pregnant, and thinking 'I cannot imagine, at this time, not having the father with me', you know? Not having and being concerned about his life and trying to eat, and trying to remember to get some sleep and trying to take a deep breath, and physically even just moving around," she said. "So, as a woman, it just made me so much more connected to her and aware of her"

The film is directed by British director Michael Winterbottom and co-produced by Jolie's partner Brad Pitt. It opens in the United States on June 22.